is an affluent city and the county seat of Placer County, California, United States. The current population is 13,106 as of March 2009, according to city signs. It is well-known for its California Gold Rush history. One of its most famous citizens was the poet and short-story writer Clark Ashton Smith, who was born in Auburn in 1893 and lived there most of his life. Born and raised in Auburn, Stacy Dragila was the first to win an Olympic gold medal in women's pole vaulting. Also, the town is featured toward the end of British author Anthony Horowitz's book,
Archaeological finds place the southwestern border for the prehistoric Martis people in the Auburn area. Native Americans, the Nisenan, an offshoot of the Maidu, were the first to establish a permanent settlement in the Auburn area.
In the spring of 1848, a group of French gold miners arrived and camped in what would later be known as the Auburn Ravine. The party was on their way to the gold fields in Coloma, California and included Francois Gendron, Philibert Courteau and Claude Chana. It was the young Chana who discovered gold on May 16, 1848. After finding the gold deposits in the soil, the party decided to stay.
Placer mining in the area was very good, with the camp first becoming known as North Fork Dry Diggings. The name was then changed to Woods Dry Diggings, after John S. Wood settled down, built a cabin, and started to mine the ravine.
The area quickly developed into a well established mining camp, officially becoming known as Auburn in August 1849. By 1850 the population had grown to about 1500, and Auburn became the seat of Placer County in 1851. Future mining operations would move up the ravine to the site of present day Auburn. In 1865, the Central Pacific Railroad, the Western portion of the First Transcontinental Railroad, reached Auburn as it was being built East from Sacramento.
The restored Old Town still offers houses and shops from the middle of the 19th century as a special eye-catcher. The oldest fire station and post office are further delicacies out of the gold fever time. Gold-digger accessories as well as Indian/Chinese artifacts can also be admired by visitors at the Placer County museum.